Verbal Abuse: Anti-Trafficking Rhetoric and Violence Against Women

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Gaber, Sherief

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The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice


There is a significant debate in contemporary feminist political thought and amongst activist organizations regarding the “trafficking of women” and the questions and problems attendant to this phenomenon. Furthermore, the work of many feminist groups now concerned with and often party to the exercise of state and international regulatory power has drawn a great deal of attention to trafficking within the United Nations, individual nation-states (particularly the United States) and a slew of increasingly powerful NGOs. These different organizations all operate at a similar structural and prescriptive level, using legal and normative models to enact protocols and legislation specifically naming, defining and acting on human trafficking. Regardless of the apparent fervor and media attention given to trafficking in recent years, the problem is still widespread, and there is significant criticism of existing trafficking models, both for their failure to achieve even stated goals, and for the way their definitions of trafficking – particularly sex trafficking – affect women.



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